As a follow-up to Part 1 (Things I Shouldn't Have Bought), I'd like to highlight some things I'm glad I did buy (or got as gifts), even though I resisted some of them in the beginning.
1. The Boppy-
I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and the Boppy was a nearly ubiquitous presence on every list of necessary products for breastfeeding mothers. Despite it's constant praise, I didn't give in easily. My husband and I slowly picked up baby stuff while grocery shopping or running errands during the final months of pregnancy--a pack of diapers here, a couple outfits there. On four separate occasions, I picked up the Boppy, examined the package, sighed, and put it back on the shelf, usually proclaiming something like "It's a thirty five dollar pillow! It's just ridiculous." Once I even had it in the cart and turned around and took it back. I can't remember exactly what finally tipped me over the edge, but I'm sure it was fueled by anxiety about not being able to breastfeed successfully. I picked up that horseshoe of fluff and carried it to the register like a sacred talisman, trying to ignore the fact that it felt overpriced.
Why I Love It: Was it a magic talisman? Well, no. Probably not. But it did help preserve my sanity, and that's definitely worth 35 bucks. In the first month or so, my daughter ate what seemed like constantly. Some days she ate for 45 minutes every hour and a half. That's forty-five minutes between feedings for anyone keeping track. And this was around the clock. Neither her neck muscles nor my feeding dexterity were developed enough to allow for much variation in the pose. So every forty-five minutes I curled up cross-legged in my bed, propped my daughter on my lap, and sat there. At first I felt successful for being able to feed my daughter, but then I felt a little trapped, and I felt more than a little bored. But with the Boppy I could gain a little freedom. Soon I was adept enough to read with one hand while feeding. Then I could browse websites. I tried to do it with a regular pillow, but it was much harder. The Boppy worked. Later, I used it to prop my daughter upright while I read her first stories to her. Even now it is one of her favorite obstacles in the neverending jungle of things to be climbed.
2. Sassy Mesh Feeders: Before having a baby, I had never heard of these, which led me to the initial conclusion that they weren't necessary. Surely someone would have been talking about them if they were important, right? But as I begin to adopt some of the principles of baby-led weaning, I realized that the little mesh bags might just be the answer to my terror over letting my daughter--who seemed intent on determining the absolute maximum amount of food she could fit in her mouth at any one time--taste food independently.
Why I Love Them: They're incredibly versatile and great at providing peace of mind. Bananas, mashed potatoes, green beans, pretty much anything we're eating can be put in these and enjoyed without the fear of choking. It's also just easier for some foods. Things like bananas are hard to pick up without squashing, and these help contain the mess.
Note: I first bought a Munchkin brand mesh feeder that doesn't come apart. After a couple of uses, it was too hard to clean. The Sassy brand has removable mesh bags that are easier to clean and they can be replaced without buying a new handle.
3. KidCo PeaPod Travel Bed- I received this as a gift, and I never would have thought to buy it for myself. It's an extremely lightweight, small travel bed with a self-inflating mattress. It can be used for children up to three years or so, and it is easy to fold and store.
Why I Love It: We do quite a bit of short-distance traveling. My in-laws are four hours away, and we like to do weekend getaways pretty often. We have a Pack n' Play, but it's pretty impractical for a lot of the traveling we do. It's hard to fit in the car and a pain to move around. We just took the PeaPod on a four-day trip, and it took up almost no room. We used it outside so that my daughter would have a safe place to play while we sat around a picnic table, at night as a crib in our friend's guest room, and during the day in the living room as a place to have toys and act as a barrier to the kitchen. It has mesh windows on all sides, making it easy to see the baby inside. We'll definitely be using it again.
4. Magic Bullet Blender- I didn't get this right away. I thought that it was unnecessary because I already have a food processor. Truth be told, I could definitely make do with the food processor, but the Magic Bullet does make making baby food a lot easier. The food processor was so much bigger, and it didn't work very well when I wanted to make a small batch of food.
Why I Love It: It works. It's easy to clean and turns pretty much anything into baby-friendly mush in a few seconds. I've also taken to using it for less baby-related things, like raspberry sauce. Mmm. There's allegedly some technique that allows you to chop vegetables with it, but it's a skill I don't possess, leaving me with onion paste. Despite that, it's compact enough to keep on the counter, making me much more likely to use it (because really, digging out all those food processor parts isn't much fun), and that's led to some more adventerous baby food.
What's on your list?